And Now For Today’s Fleeting Idea…

This morning, I left the house early in hopes of having the car inspected at Lorenzutti Motors in downtown Brooklyn. I figured I have a better chance with them, as they’re the folks who have taken care of the car for years now. The more and more Tobyjoe and I thought about our meeting with Two Guys on McGuinness Boulevard, the more and more we felt we didn’t receive an honest assessment. I want a second opinion, to put it simply. I refuse to believe that this car is unacceptable especially considering the number of total rust machines driving along the streets of New York City.

Lorenzutti must be closed for Presidents Day. I drove over there for nothing.

I was thinking about myself on the drive back. I was thinking about the number of times I have had this idea or desire to change my life and do something entirely new for a change. I do it all the time; so much so, I’m starting to even doubt myself. But the other day after listening to this guy try and wheel and deal us, I suddenly had a mind to sign up to learn how to fix cars.

Today, before I could tell myself this is just another fleeting idea whose passion will soon be deflated by time and yet another passionate idea, I signed up at The Apex Technical School. Now, I know I don’t have the money to pay for evening classes to learn how to become an auto mechanic. I also understand that becoming a mechanic isn’t typically a career for a woman. But I did it anyway. I keep telling myself that learning how to fix a car could be beneficial. This is one profession where ageism doesn’t play a major part in getting a job. After all, we all know that an older female graphic designer will have a harder time finding a job than one in her late 20s, early 30s. And anyone who tells me otherwise is fooling themselves and me. I could become the ugliest, fat chick car mechanic. People would probably grow to trust me even more. heh

That’s what I did today. I signed up to find out a little more about becoming an auto mechanic. A girl can have daily dreams, right?


  1. I’m considering becoming a plumber. seriously.


  2. That’s awesome, Donald. Where does one go to school for that? No one will EVER NOT need a plumber. You’re set for life. Two things American’s love: Shitting and Driving cars. We’d totally be set.


  3. that’s awesome!!!! I’ve always wished I had the ability to do things like that on a whim…alas, children make it a little difficult!


  4. The other day when I was walking to work, thinking about how busy I’ve been and how much my brains hurts sometimes, I thought it’d be fun to work with my hands. For me, it’s carpentry, but I fear I might saw off my own hand. Then I could be a shop teacher with one hand.


  5. If I didn’t need my salary, and if I didn’t have a family that needs my time and attention, I’d do whatever it would take to cook professionally.

    As for shitting and driving: I live for the day that I can comfortably do both at the same time. The closest I will probably ever come is to have my kids fill their diapers in the back seat of the car. Except for that one time I got stranded in a traffic jam in the middle of a blizzard … but technically I wasn’t really driving, cuz traffic was stopped.


  6. I remember when Evan was hiring some designers a few months ago – he was basically only taking younger people. If I recall correctly, his reasoning was something like this – if someone has been in the industry for 5-10 years and they’re applying for a junior or general position, something has got to be wrong with them. If someone is in their early-mid 30s applying for a design position, they should have the portfolio and capability to be an art director, and if they dont, they didn’t have the drive to push them forward.

    I know NOTHING about your portfolio michele. I do know though that every so often – since I’ve known you – you’ve spoken of giving up design and going into something else – and I think you should totally explore that. You love to design, but it seems to me that you don’t love to do it as a career. I don’t see any reason why you can’t be a _ (insert other career here) who is an awesome graphic designer as a hobby, if that will make you happier.


  7. I’ve always wanted to know more about fixing cars. I know enough to inspect em, their wiring, change their tires, change a battery, oil, belt, etc… but when it comes to the real stuff, I’m lost.


  8. The real stuff? Honey, I don’t even know how to take care of what you mentioned. :]


  9. Jon, I feel that Evan’s reasoning behind hiring or not hiring someone is presumptious and unfair. But that’s not something I would like to get into on the Internet.

    And to be honest, I love design and I rather like my current job. I just think it’d be incredible knowing about cars and how they work.


  10. i think that’s a great idea. there will always be cars – broken cars – and even if you just figure out how to fix your cars, it’ll save you a bunch of money and i’m sure it’s fun. awesome!


  11. Oh, I haven’t really looked into becoming a plumber yet. Last week it was radiology and the week before that it was astronaut…


  12. You can learn a GREAT deal about your car by buying a Chilton’s guide. I bought one for my 86 Camaro when I was in graduate school and it made a world of difference in my understanding of my car’s parts and how they work. The great thing about your car is that it probably doesn’t have an ECM (electronic control module) – that is, a computer – to make it work. It’s all mechanical and electrical.

    You’re an innovator and an idealist, and your fleeting fantasies and passions are the fruit of your talents. You can’t beat yourself up over the fact that you come up with something new to do every couple of months. This is not a fault in your character. You need to embrace this temperment and put yourself into a position to capitalize on it.

    This is where I have an issue with guys like “evan” cited above. To assume that everyone wants to “get ahead” and become some sort of director/manager fails to recognize that some people can be great at their job and a valuable colleague and completely uninterested in promotion.

    If I were you, I’d worry if you STOPPED coming up with wild schemes and quixotic crusades.


  13. I thought more about this last night. I thought more about what Jon wrote and I want to elaborate on why I think it’s harsh and unfair.
    Jon wrote:
    “if someone has been in the industry for 5-10 years and they’re applying for a junior or general position, something has got to be wrong with them.”

    This is so f’ed up—in New York City where there are hundreds of thousands of people looking for work. Graphic Designers are a dime a dozen here. Sometimes, it comes down to someone overqualified willing to take a junior level position just to pay the freaking bills. I don’t understand why they’re then judged for wanting to make a living. So, by these standards, should they just not work? Or would you rather them work in fast food or clean up trash. I find that really offensive, to be honest with you.

    But thankfully, I have a job I rather enjoy right now and am not faced with that fact. I am, however, very interested in taking a few night classes to learn how a car works and how to fix the small things.

    Why is this bugging me so much? I must be grumpy today.


  14. You’re not grumpy. It’s a narrow-minded viewpoint and you’re not wrong in being bugged. I’m bugged, too.

    Charlie is very right. We are all excited by different things, and to pigeonhole people as being on a singular path upwards into managerial positions is just retarded. Unfortunately, it’s common.

    Not every organization has to be hierarchical, either. I’ve seen frameworks (in the government, no less) that capitalize on people’s experience and expertise to make authoritative, operational decisions without requiring that they be people leaders, and it has worked rather well for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that peope who are excited by and good at having their hands in the dirt, so to speak, don’t have to leave it behind in order to gain authority. Furthermore, income is just one of many drivers of career satisfaction and it happens to be a little bit lower on my list (though I perhaps I can say that because I am currently doing pretty okay, salary-wise.)

    Not everyone aspires to managerial positions, not to mention not everyone has the correct skillset to do so. (A top leader in my current company outlined his top ten attributes of a great leadership, only half of which are coachable skills…the other half are inherent.)


  15. To be fair to Jon, he was only mentioning Evan’s rules for hiring folks, not advocating it. I think it was just to bring in the angle that professional, non-solo design is something that you, Michele, are often frustrated by. I’ve been a fan all along of you going solo, volunteering or teaching and doing whatever freelance work inspires you. The problem with our delicate constitutions, though, is that both of us start to freak out when we work as freelancers, feeling unstable and not being able to enjoy any down time because of worry. I’ve never been happier in my career and feel that TBG could be the last job I want unless I end up going solo or into academia. In other words, the stability is there as a couple, finally, so you should consider whether you’d be comfortable with freelance, becoming a student, doing charity work, teaching, or just sitting on here all day scheming and dreaming.

    Hey, I know: have a kid and get paid for blogging about it and putting up nude photos of the little one on Flickr!


  16. Furthermore…

    Jon Wrote:

    “If someone is in their early-mid 30s applying for a design position, they should have the portfolio and capability to be an art director, and if they don’t, they didn’t have the drive to push them forward.”


    I gotta be honest with you but I’m not even sure I can write a response to this. However, it proves my point entirely that in this field, people are judged on what they HAVEN’T done much of the time instead of what they have done and what they want to do.

    My father worked his way up all the way to the top of a major corporation. He was the “big guy.” He worked his ass off and made a lot of money because of it. He put us through school, took us on vacations, we never had to feel like we couldn’t do something because of money.

    After 20+ years of working there, in a managerial role where the people who worked for him genuinely liked him, he was laid off. That’s it. Just done. No more job.

    My dad had an excellent savings. He was smart so he wasn’t forced to become a Starbucks employee to make ends meet. However, he did file for unemployment and he did start looking for work he was probably entirely over-qualified for.

    So, how the hell do you or evan know where someone comes from and why they’re looking for that particular job or why they never became managers?

    Presumptuous. Unfair. Period.

    I’m not trying to attack you, Jon. But sometimes you really need to think about what you write and if it’s all Evan’s belief, the next time he or someone you know starts speaking like that about potential hires, maybe try and show some understanding for who it is being unfairly judged.


  17. I’m still wondering what an art directors portfolio looks like, and how that makes them qualified to manage and direct people. I’d like to know if the reason I have worked for so many idiots in the past, is because Evan hired them?

    :) To be fair though…if you have 100’s of applicants for 1 position, you have to weed them somehow. I understand age being one way, but not really for the reason given.


  18. “I understand age being one way, but not really for the reason given.”

    I believe it’s illegal to consider age. In fact, I know it is…


  19. It’s illegal, but no one pays attention to it. Reasons are given or not given but I know for a fact that some people aren’t hired based on how old they are. Similarly, I have seen people get turned away because they are too young. But usually that’s all because they’re not seasoned. Reasons given for not hiring people who are older are usually much like the ones Jon spoke of above. But I think that half the time it’s bullshit. I think it’s based entirely on looks. And, well, looks include age.


  20. a_ Toby did a better description of what Iwas talking about.

    b_ Mihow – I don’t recall Evan’s exact reasoning being, but I will share my own feelings on this: I don’t think its not about age, but about drive and experience.

    I’m not talking about people becoming managers or any sort of ‘authoritative’ role. What I’m saying is that if you’ve been in a field for X years, you should have achieved a certain level of experience/titles. Lawyers are pressed to make partner by 40. Investment Bankers try to make VP of something by 35. Marketing people try to make brand manager. Scientists should have X number of published studies. If you’re a professor and you don’t have a book by 35, you’re just not going to get a job at an Ivy League school.

    When someone applies for a job, is the interviewer going to look at them and see appropriate experience? Or are they going to see years of wasted potential?

    Designers in NYC are indeed a dime a dozen. You’ve got the ‘rockstars’ that have the fancy jobs and went to the fancy art schools, the hacks that went to a professional training course advertised on late night TV , and everything in between. I don’t think it really matters where you went , but what matters is this: were you the person who punched in a 9-5 job and did weekly ads and postcards for 10years straight, or someone who kept working on bigger and better projects and pushing yourself forward?

    There’s a huge difference between working a job to pay the bills because you need to pay those bills, and just working to pay the bills and nothing more. The former is going to keep working on their portfolio and skills, and on the lookout for bigger and better things. The latter is going to be working at 9-5 – that’s it – and bitching 10 years later when they’re still in the same position. I was continually amazed when visiting client’s at my last job, and having to deal with their in house art department (read: glorified production artists) – they were all pixel-pushers and text-aligners in their 30s who would bitch that all the actual design work got outsourced. The worked 8hrs a day implementing someone else’s designs, collected their paycheck, and that was it – they expected that would give them the ability to advance in their career.

    I jumped in on this discussion, because I don’t think that its ageism being a 30 year old’s trouble trying to find a job as a graphic deigner in their 30s, but of someone who should be at an advanced position applying for an entry level role. Honestly, if I were interviewing someone who had been in deisgn for 10+
    years for a ‘graphic designer’ slot, I’d be wondering why the hell they’re in my office—why don’t they have senior designer, art director, creative director or something similar on their resume?


  21. Seriously, I give up on this conversation. At this point, it’s a discussion based on generalizations and is therefore, in my opinion, pointless.

    But I will say this: no one was saying that it’s ageism when referring to someone in their thirties. If you reread my original post, you’ll notice I said, it’s easier for a 30-year-old to find work than one who is older.

    I am not older yet. But I know from seeing it happen that an employee in this industry has an expiration date. People who are considered less attractive don’t get jobs. People who are overweight don’t get jobs. People who grow old and “out-of-date” don’t get as many jobs.

    If you don’t see that, especially in urban areas, you’re fooling yourself.


  22. I have an appointment to tour the school on Tuesday. I told them I’d be interested in night classes because, contrary to what some folks might believe, I do actually like my job and what I do. :]


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